• January 23rd is national pie day!
  • There's debate as to whether a Shepherd's pie is even a pie
  • Look at healthier, alternative approaches to pastry

Who doesn't love a good pie? The hearty food can be comforting and perfect all-year round and, moreover the possibilities are endless in terms of filling! January 23rd is even national Pie Day! Here's a pie-inspired article to sink your teeth into.

Don't worry about detox January

After all the Christmas and New Year indulgences, most people welcome a quieter and healthier January, but this doesn't mean you have to sacrifice pies – which make absolute sense during the winter – because they can be healthy and low in calories.

Top tips include making the dough fresh, cut added sugar, use more yoghurt in place of butter and opt for whole wheat flour. For more, check out this great guide to healthy pies. Here's a top chicken and leek recipe too, one that is tasty and low in calories!

When is a pie a pie?

Are you a sweet or savoury pie-lover? Do you like both? Does it even matter? Isn't a sweet pie just a cake? You may not believe it but there is even debate as to what exactly is the proper definition of a pie.

For example, some say a pie is not a pie when it is without a lid. That means that a Shepherd's Pie is not technically a pie. You can't enter it in the British Pie Awards, as one of the criteria is an entry must be 'a filling totally and wholly encased in pastry'.

Needless to say, this 'official' classification does not go down well with advocates of an inclusive definition, who are so adamant that the rules need to change they are willing to take it to Parliament.

Some recipes

We've decided to play it safe with suggestions for recipes that tick all the boxes. Whether you like a savoury pie, one with a lid or a fish pie that does away with a crusty top, these dishes will surely make your day.

One for the savoury fans

It has to be the classic steak and mushroom pie, although why not give it a twist with a splash of dark ale. Note, if you opt for porcini mushrooms, cover them in boiling water for 20 minutes then squeeze out the water (which you should keep).

One for the sweet-tooths

A robust sweet pie if ever there was one, the humble apple pies has a feelgood factor about them that make them an ideal dish for weekends at home. This recipe is perfect for a gathering and is easy to make.

One for the vegans

Jamie Oliver has put together an impressive vegan pie that packs plenty of flavour into this fulsome dish. Key ingredients include mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. With a crisp, zesty breadcrumb finish, it's one even dedicated carnivores would be happy to tuck into.